Client’s Guide to Minimum Viable Product Development

Avantika Shergil By Avantika Shergil  |  Nov 22, 2021  |  Minimum Viable Products
MVP Development – Guide for Clients

An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is one of the most critical aspects of the mobile app development strategy especially when outsourcing app development services as a startup. It is not restricted to the genre of mobile app development, though, and one can use MVP to build a PWA, website, or software.

A lot of time, effort, and money go into an IT product development process, and if the users do not like the product, then it all goes to waste. MVP is a solution that helps the development teams include the necessary features into your IT product and eliminate the non-necessary ones which ultimately saves Time and Cost to develop an app.

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

So what exactly do we mean by an MVP? Well, the acronym stands for a Minimum Viable Product. In Web, Software, and Mobile app development, the concept of MVP is prevalent. This is because people do not want an unsatisfactory product after putting in months of hard work and burning thousands of dollars.

An MVP helps the top IT service providers in developing a great finished product by allowing them to validate a business idea cost-effectively.

MVP is a bare-bones design that includes only and ‘only’ the essential components of Software or an app without which the app or software cannot function. The idea is to get internal and user feedback before releasing the full-fledged product into the market.

While developing an MVP, the most critical thing to ensure is the viability of the product. The product shall not be compromised in a manner that imperfect results are delivered in the first stage itself. The ‘Minimum’ in MVP must be defined in such a way that it does not affect the core functionality of the product.

Features of an MVP

Importance of MVP Development

A minimum viable product, or MVP, is a product that possesses astounding features that can allure early-adopter users and validate the idea of a product in advance to make the product development cycle better and foolproof. An MVP is essential because it saves time and effort on the part of developers.

It is important that you as a startup or entrepreneur describe your project efficiently which will help all the stakeholders of the project to focus on the most important features. The MVP allows the developers to make the necessary changes according to the feedback received. Especially in sectors such as software, the MVP enables the production teams to get user feedback as early as possible for iterating and improving it.

Identify the Most Critical Features of the Product

Every product idea starts with a massive list of features that a business wants to include. But it won’t be wise to release all the elements in the first version of the product itself. You need to create a Mobile App Business Plan and transform it into a valuable strategy in order of releasing these features.

This would help you keep the costs in check and give you and your app development team sufficient time to see the effect of the features on the users. It is often understood that the function does not have the intended impact on the users and instead backfires. This can have a catastrophic effect on the popularity of the app. The developers can select the priority features using an MVP.

They can then test the effect of these features on the user and accordingly add or subtract the features in subsequent versions of the app/software. The feature selection criteria should be based on the function’s value for the users and its feasibility.

An MVP satisfies early Customers

Customer satisfaction is the prime motto of developing any product. To achieve this, we need to decide the optimum features that will provide value to the user.

The MVP will help you in eliminating those features which are not satisfactorily engaging the users. This will allow the product to achieve early success, as its first version would be filled with appealing features.

By allowing you to gauge customer feedback, an MVP can help in making your product good enough to solve the problem of the user in the first instance itself.

Gauge Customer’s Expectations

For the product to succeed, the management must understand the needs of the users in an effective manner. Capturing the level of user engagement and measuring how users interact with the product has become the need of the hour today.

By experimenting with the features of the app or software, the development team can gain valuable feedback, which will prove to be a critical success factor for the future.

What is the difference between a Prototype and an MVP?

Many times it is seen that a Prototype and an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) are considered to be the same. Let us bust this myth.

A Prototype is visualization of the product, which aids the designers and developers in knowing the features that are to be integrated into the product for further development.

The peculiar thing about a prototype is that it can be used by developer teams planning to launch an MVP as well as by those teams who decide to release a finished product.

MVP is a product that is to be released to the users. The prototype is designed for internal use or for presenting a graphical image of the product to the investors.

Stages of Minimum Viable Product Development

Stages of Minimum Viable Product Development

By now, you will agree that an MVP plays a vital role in the development process of any IT product. But, before you start the process of building an MVP, you must know some necessary details about the stages involved. To make an MVP, the developers must follow the correct procedure. There are various stages involved in MVP development, and by knowing about these stages, the developers can build a functional MVP much faster.

Identify and Evaluate the Challenge

The first stage is evaluating the challenge.

Before you start MVP development, you must answer the following questions.

  • Who are your targeted users?
  • What are the problems that they face?
  • How will your product solve their problems?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Are they able to solve the problem of the users in an effective manner?

By conducting a thorough analysis of the problem, the developers will know about the pain points of the audience. They will be able to define the target audience better by conducting surveys, interviews, and analyzing data.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

SWOT is a strategic management concept that can be applied for qualifying the MVP idea. By analyzing the MVP through the SWOT lens, the developers can focus on increasing the strengths of the MVP, reducing its weaknesses, avoiding the threats and maximizing the opportunities to make the MVP better.

The SWOT analysis also aids the developers to analyze the competitors and define the market positioning of the product. By analyzing competitors, the MVP that your team develops will be able to address the shortcomings of existing solutions in the market.

Make a list of MVP features and get it down to a Minimum

An excellent way to define the MVP features is to check out the user journey.

The developers can build a list of features for every step the user takes while using the product. Once the features are listed down, the development team can then segregate them into high priority and low priority features and include only the top priority ones in the MVP.

Build an MVP

Once the core features of an MVP are defined, it’s time to build the MVP.

Understand that the MVP is only the first version of the product and not the final one. Hence perfection is not a priority at this stage. MVP development is concerned with releasing the MVP in the least possible time and testing all the features and assumptions about the product with minimum possible risk. The sooner the users start using the product, the better it is, as the user feedback will show whether the users are interested in the app.

Testing an MVP

While developing an MVP, the development team must test the product regularly. The team needs to perform Alpha testing which is the testing of the product by employees of the organization working on the particular project.

Then beta testing is done by real users but in a controlled manner. Beta testing ensures high probability of success by empowering your developers. By conducting robust testing, the development team can understand whether the product can solve the problem faster, better, and cheaper than the competition.

Learn and Improve your MVP

Once the developers get the initial feedback from the users, they must take steps to implement the feedback. Implementation of the feedback is the most vital part of the MVP development process as it helps the developers to improve the subsequent iterations of the product.

Based on the user feedback, the developers will need to improve the features that the users want, remove the ones that the users don’t want. This is the stage where assumptions are either validated or quashed and hence it is very important to give the required time and effort to complete this stage.

Pros and Cons of the Minimum Viable Product

The importance of MVP in the App Development process can’t be neglected. But understand that MVP development has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Before jumping on the bandwagon of MVP development, you must look at both sides of the coin.

Benefits of MVP Product Development

Top Benefits of MVP Development

Find out the essential features of the product

Whenever a new product is being launched in the market, the focus should be on finding and implementing the most critical functions in the product. By building an MVP, you can test the mobile app business ideas and collect the customers’ feedback regarding the product. This helps you in identifying the ideal features of the product.

Testing Convenience

With fewer features, it is easier for the testing team to test the product. As there are fewer hiccups when the MVP is released in the market, the team can add features one by one, test them and then release the product into the market again. This approach is quite useful in making sure that the product runs smoothly.

Get robust Customer Feedback

An essential part of developing an MVP is to learn about the opinion of the intended users. Many startups fail because the distance between what their customers wanted and what the startups thought they wanted was too large. By collecting customer feedback for the MVP, the development team can ensure that the final product is according to the wishes of the customers.

Analyze Market Demand

Many startups fail because they are unable to estimate the demand for their app idea in the market. Many times the startups make the mistake of investing too much money into an idea for which the need does not exist. This is where an MVP can prove to be useful.

An MVP allows startup owners to test the idea without investing their entire capital. The MVP helps the startups understand the market demand early on and adapt their product accordingly.

Less Time-Consuming

As the Minimum Viable Product contains only the core functionalities, the development team can concentrate its efforts on building a product with only the minimum number of features required. This helps in taking the product to the market in a much faster manner than a full-fledged product.

Reasonable Expenses

MVP development is a budget-friendly exercise as it helps in keeping the costs down as the efforts of the business organization are concentrated on creating a product with minimum features. As the overall development time is very less, the costs are also minimized.

Attracting early adopters

The MVP helps the early adopters of the application test the product. The early adopters are important users as they act as micro-influencers for the people in their vicinity like their friends, family, colleagues, and neighbours.

Understand that people will believe their friends more than a business that pitches the product and this is why these early adopters are important.

The early adopters can act as great sources of honest feedback about the product as they do not shy away from giving their opinion.

Test assumptions regarding revenue sources

A robust monetization strategy is essential to ensure the success of any application. Before you launch the product it is necessary to test your assumptions regarding the revenue sources. Harsh surprises regarding potential revenue sources can derail your journey.

By building an MVP, you can test whether the app will generate enough revenue from the revenue sources you had envisioned. Collect feedback from the customers to zero-in on the best monetization strategy from the wide range of monetization strategies available.

Low risk progress

Any business has to mitigate a wide variety of risks to become successful. The business might underestimate the budget, the business model might not work or the customers might not like the product or a competitor might crop up, these are just few of the risks that a business needs to tackle.

An MVP helps the business get more clarity on a majority of these risks and boosts the chances of success for the business.

Provide impetus to the product pitch

An impressive product pitch is instrumental in getting more funds for the startup. An MVP drastically increases the chances of a successful product pitch as it validates the business idea and has feedback from real customers.

An MVP normally answers most of the questions related to the product as it proves that the potential users have shown interest in the product.

The MVP helps the businesses show the viability of the product to the investors and show them the returns that they can expect by investing in the idea.

Disadvantages of MVP Product Development

Features Prioritization

Sometimes defining the minimum features is not that easy as businesses want to add as many features as possible. It is important to remember that the first and foremost benefit that top software development teams gain from an MVP is the ability to test and learn from the product. For that, the business mustn’t spend too much on adding features.

Adding Great Design Features

Startups think that the MVP should have a great design, and many times they compromise the functionality for that. This is a grave mistake as an MVP is designed to test the features, and design can wait. But this does not mean that you can go with a shabby design. Hence the team will need to create a balance between the functionality and design.

Imperfect results on the First Stage

The development teams need to accept that the MVP won’t be perfect in the first stage itself. The teams must resist spending too much time and resources on making the MVP perfect in every aspect.

Popular Examples of Minimum Viable Products (MVP)

Many great apps and websites started their journey as an MVP. Here are some successful MVP examples.

Foursquare

Foursquare

In the MVP of Foursquare developers added check-ins and awards in the form of badges to the users. Then, after taking feedback from the users, the development team added city guides and other features which expanded the product into its current form.

Instagram

Instagram

The popular photo-sharing social media website started its journey as an MVP which was focused on only photo filters. The users loved the feature, and since then, Instagram has updated its website and app to include tagging, geolocation as well as short videos.

Amazon

Amazon

The retail behemoth started its journey as a simple website that was focused only on delivering books. Jeff Bezos did not spend too much money on making Amazon the perfect website. Instead, he started with the minimum number of products and features and expanded later.

Airbnb

Airbnb

Airbnb was born in the world as an MVP in San Francisco when two people were having a tough time paying the house rent, and they came up with the idea of providing accommodation to tourists visiting San Francisco. They were ready to go on a simple website, few essential photos of their house, and voila! While the cost of building an app like Airbnb is more than a simple website, it gave the founders the confidence to invest time and money into the idea, as they found out that the MVP was successful in drawing customers.

The Final Version

As they say, Rome was not built in a day. The same holds for making excellent IT products like a mobile app, software, website, or PWA. There will be many iterations of a product before it is finally released into the market, and MVP would be just the beginning. It will help you in laying a solid foundation for your product. As the old proverb goes, well begun is half done.

Avantika Shergil Avantika Shergil   |  Nov 22, 2021

An enthusiastic Operations Manager at TopDevelopers.co, coordinating and managing the technical and functional areas. She is an adventure lover, passionate traveler, an admirer of nature, who believes that a cup of coffee is the prime source to feel rejuvenated. Researching and writing about technology keeps her boosted and enhances her professional journeying.

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